In the U.S., we are at the top of the economic cycle and have experienced an excellent run of economic prosperity! Many of our clients, like you, are doing very well, which means space and productivity just might be the next big challenge. Don’t be too quick to go out and build more brick and mortar just yet. Doing so can be expensive and add annual fixed costs for heat, electricity, taxes, and more. There is also a temptation to add people or a second shift for some departments.
Six solutions for improved performance
Indeed, when it comes to manufacturing, more space and labor is often a common and appropriate solution. However, when it comes to finished goods, work in process (WIP), or raw materials storage and movement, there are several cutting-edge ways to find more space and increase productivity with your existing resources. Here are just a few:
- Manage your parts inventory differently using intralogistics software to help save space and promote efficiency .
- Use the vertical space available in your building by implementing goods to person automated storage systems to significantly increase your storage density while, at the same time, freeing up valuable floor space for revenue-generating activities.
- Avoid the need for additional labor by changing the way you pick your orders. Batch picking strategies can increase orders per hour picked by as much as 50% or more without increasing labor.
- Organize your WIP in a vertical storage system to significantly cut down on time spent searching for the material to move to the next value-added operation. One added benefit of this system is usually fewer carts or shelves of WIP on the production floor. An additional benefit is improved process efficiency.
- Move your raw material storage closer to the manufacturing process by utilizing the clear ceiling height in your building.
- Use light-directed picking for raw materials, WIP, and finished goods to improve accuracy and reduce picking time.
Lay the groundwork to stay on top
It is tempting to think the economic expansion will continue forever, but that’s highly unlikely. Avoiding the increased costs of additional real estate in some cases may be the best idea. On top of that, the new technologies described above also may help you with improved ergonomics, safety, productivity, accuracy, efficiency, and labor savings.